Vladimir woke us up at 4:30 for the hike. I slept for about two hours and decided I just might kill the bear snoring. We all met in the dining hall for some quick coffee and then off we went.
The hike was over lava sand and started to rise. We went up and up. I started to lag behind. Our Camp is 4500 feet up and we were hiking higher at a rapid pace. The group started to gain more and more distance from me. I saw some of them climbing a steep ridge and decided I had enough. I told Dmitry that I was stopping to take pictures and then would return to Camp. I took some great pictures of a volcano in the distance with a huge lava field in front.
Dmiitry joined me to return to Camp. The others kept on climbing. I had reached my limit. I had never done this on a photo workshop. The environment, place and my age had all caught up to me at once.
While walking back to Camp, my stomach started to churn and I came to the realization that I had to endure what was a toilet. We first went into the dining hall. I picked up a roll of toilet paper and off I went. I tried to make the experience as painless as possible, but to no avail. How far will I go and endure? As I previously said, more on that later. I then sat in the dining hall, had some coffee and waited for the others to return. While starring at my coffee, two men decided to talk to me. Just what I needed. One was a Canadian from Calgary named Derrick and the other was named David from the UK. They asked me what I was doing here? By this time I could not give them a sane answer. They then asked me my age. When I told them 70 1/2 they were amazed that someone my age would come to a place and environment like this. Derrick was 48 and David 45. They were here for hiking. They said that I give them hope that when they reach my age they could do this.
I then wandered into the cooks primitive kitchen and saw her making some great looking porridge. I asked her if I could have some before the others. This really hit the spot. The others started to wander back in. They said that the remaining part of the climb that I missed was hard and very windy. I am so glad I listened to my mind and body.
After breakfast I went back to my tent for a short nap and Dmiitry told everyone that the shower was ready. I decided to take the plunge. I needed to wash myself and change my clothing. The shower was nice and hot and fresh clothing did me wonders. The rain returned and I decided to hide out in the Kamaz to write and try to stay warm.
Lunch was served around 1PM. Of course the lunch was amazing. Our cooks name is Natalia. To be able to create food the way she does, in such harsh conditions and working space is a true feat.
At about two thirty we boarded the Kamaz for an afternoon of photography. We first went to the dead forest. We drove for about thirty minutes over black lava sand and then we saw it. A whole forest of dead trees in the middle of no where. Dispersed amongst the dead trees were small flowers and grass. The eruption that created this happened during 1973. You could see how nature was starting to be reborn and reclaim the environment.
We all got out of the Kamaz and started to wander around. I started to take pictures and quickly realized that I was at a location that told such a powerful story from such a remote place. Every time I moved and looked through the viewfinder I got a different perspective. What a location. I wandered around constantly adjusting the camera and positioning myself on the ground and standing up. The images were unfolding from my mind as I let the location and story pour out of my creativity. I was one of the last photographers to board the Kamaz and sort of felt sorry that I had to leave such a harsh and beautiful place.
On we went. Vladimir was sitting next to the driver. Marcela, another one of the photographers from Madrid, asked to return to the dead forest to fly her drone over a crater. Three of us have drones including Vladimir. I have been contemplating purchasing a drone, but have decided to hold off until I am able to free up more time at home so that I can master this different type of photography. We went back to the dead forest and Marcela put her drone on the ground and it lifted off. The drone was last seen hovering over the crater and then she lost its signal. The drone had disappeared inside the crater never to be seen again. Photographers are constantly loosing things. In the Galapagos, I lost a new underwater camera while snorkeling. The camera fell off my wrist and I saw it go down to the bottom. I know how Marcela felt.
We then drove to an amazing landscape location. Two volcanoes were almost next to each other. There was snow streaking down their cones. The clouds here are quite different. They create large and sort of flat patterns. The only other place I have seen clouds that were different was in Patagonia. The clouds there were flat and looked like large pancakes. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of these two breathtaking volcanoes. I walked around constantly changing position as I took in this site.
We then boarded the Kamaz for a visit to the lava fields. I had previously seen these lava fields in the morning but got a different perspective from this immense image.
It was now back on the Kamaz for our drive back to Camp. Dinner was served. Natalia outdid herself. Lamb chops and pork steaks were served. She also served smoked local salmon. The smoked local salmon was incredible. I have never had salmon this tasty.
After being told about our activities for the next day it was time to crawl back into our tents to try and get some sleep. The wind was howling. Our dedicated and friendly staff stayed up most of the night making sure that none of our tents collapsed under the intense wind. I tried to sleep but it was almost hopeless.